The last two weeks have seen a world-wide frenzy with the Corona virus. It is not my aim to add to this media mix. My ideas are not revolutionary or new-found. What I am about to tell you, you probably already know. So take this blog post as a gentle nudge to get back to basics and follow what your grandmother told you throughout your life: Just eat real food. Be proactive about your own health and make a point of filling your diet with lots of vegetables (especially green ones) in a variety of colors and pair that with lean protein sources (animal or plant-based), and finish off with some whole grains.
I got quite a few questions this week asking which foods are best to boost the immune system. This is what really inspired me to write this blog post. You really don't need fancy supplements and expensive super foods to give your immune system a boost. Following a whole foods diet will really do wonders to boost your body's natural immunity, so stay strong and healthy. Here is my go-to recipe for my family when I want to get an added boost of nutrients in their bodies. There is a reason my grandma use to make chicken noodle soup for us when were sick. It just works. And it's like a big hug for your body in one bowl.
Here is where to start: Bone Broth.
Of course through my cooking career, I’ve known that homemade stocks always add more flavor to an abundance of recipes. But it wasn’t until I started doing more research into the benefits of a Paleo/Primal diet that I truly understood the health benefits of a homemade bone broth. Now it is a staple in my kitchen. When I start to get that run-down feeling, it’s the first meal I turn to.
In today’s blog post, I will give you some insight into just how beneficial bone broth can be to your health and my favorite way to enjoy it: Health Boosting Chicken & Veggie Soup.
First, let’s understand the benefits:
The Real Food RN says it best:
Bone broth health benefits:
Heals leaky-gut related conditions and lessens inflammation in the mucosal lining
Helps to heal autoimmune conditions by healing the gut
Aids in detoxification by supporting the liver
Aids digestion by regulating the synthesis of bile salts and the secretion of gastric acid
Improves nervous system function and keeps our minds (and moods) in good working order
Boosts antioxidant activity in the body, thus decreasing oxidative damage
Balances blood sugar, helps maintain muscle, and regulates human growth hormone (for all you gym-goers out there)
Helps to reverse heart disease by reducing atherosclerotic plaque build-up
Reduced cellulite, stretch marks, and wrinkles (from the collagen content)
Improves hair and nails
Bone broth contains:
antioxidants vitamins minerals (calcium, silicon, sulfer, magnesium, glucosamine, phosphorus, trace minerals, and glucosamine chondroitin sulfates) amino acids (proline, arginine and glycine)
It is a cheap and nutrient-dense food, that is why it is still traditionally made today as a staple food in many parts of the world.
Here is my recipe: Don’t skip on the apple cider vinegar, as this helps to pull all the vitamins and minerals out of the bones. As you are cooking through the week, save your vegetable ends from carrots, fennel, celery, onions etc. to flavor the stock and to also make use of your veggie scraps.
I always use the leftover bones from a roast chicken or I ask my butcher for good quality beef long bones. *You can use leftover bones/carcass, long bones, marrow bones, poultry necks and feet (if you are very brave – ask your local butcher for these)
4 quarts/ 3.75 liters of filtered water
1 ½-2lbs/700-900grams of bones* beef or chicken.
1 large carrot
½ onion (leave skin on if you want a deeper brown broth)
½ fennel bulb or 2 celery stalks
1 whole garlic bulb – cloves peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp of organic Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp whole peppercorns (about 5-6 peppercorns)
1 tbsp Sea Salt – I prefer Fleur de Sel (about a soup spoon)
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
½ bunch of flat leaf parsley
Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Simmer over a low heat for 12 to 24 hours. Let cool. Store up in a tightly sealed container for up to three days.
I use my bone broth for many different recipes. I use it for soups, stews, sauces, etc. If you really want to a health boost, you can drink a warm cup of bone broth every day for breakfast.
Health-Boosting Chicken & Veggie Soup
3 tbsp extra-virgin Olive Oil
4 stalks of celery or 1 fennel bulb, peeled and chopped
4 medium-sized carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 cups of pea pods, green beans, or broccoli flowerets, chopped
2 cups of fresh spinach or greens
1/2 bunch chopped parsley
4-6 cups bone broth
4 cups filtered water
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 scallions, chopped to finish
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped to finish
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add in all the vegetables, except the spinach, garlic, ginger, and parsley and cook on low to medium high heat for 5- 10 minutes until the vegetable are soft and translucent. Add in the bone broth and water. Continue to cook on medium to high heat, simmering for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Before serving, season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in spinach. Garnish each bowl with chopped scallions and fresh parsley.
Very simple, old fashioned recipes that will keep the whole family healthy and happy!